What is your opinion of the Beacon Community Cooperative Agreement Program?
Beacon Community Cooperative Agreement Program (BCCAP) that complies with HITECH Act was completed in 2014, which resulted in the creation of 17 Beacon Communities (ONC & HHS, 2014). I suppose that BCCAP is significant in focusing on smaller units (communities), which makes it a vital element of the system of the US HIE. BCCAP compliments HIT development by addressing the needs of separate areas; the Communities provide diverse experiences and varied solutions and ideas that can be used by the nation as a whole.
What do you view as specific Beacon Communities of interest?
I am interested in researching the Southeast Minnesota Beacon Community (SMBC) because it is one of the two Communities that were created specifically to address the issues of rural communities and racial and income disparities. Other goals of the Community are standard but equally important: to strengthen the regional HIT, promote innovation, and consequently enhance cost efficiency and quality of healthcare, which eventually leads to a better quality of life for Southeast Minnesota (ONC, 2012).
What were the lessons learned and outcomes achieved in some of these key communities that can be leveraged to advance the HIE agenda?
ONC has found out that Beacon Communities are a source of “lessons learned” material (ONC & HHS, 2014). SMBC is an example: 100% of the local providers have adopted electronic health records (EHR), but the Community still experiences problems with efficient data sharing. It was concluded that the situation requires the enhancement of HIE standards. Apart from that, the Community promotes innovation: it has implemented an online decision-making tool for patients with diabetes to engage them in healthcare. In the future, this tool will be improved and connected to EHRs. Similarly, the Community is currently testing the Patient-Reported Outcome Quality of Life tool, which means that it contributes to the US HIE agenda (ONC, 2012).
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